Of course, Howard increases Bryant’s chances of winning another ring—something he was cast away from after Pau Gasol’s critical descent. Yet, the days of Bryant finishing a game all on his own are long gone.
Those crucial moments in the history of Kobe’s success were eliminated when Bryant’s supporting cast wilted, and he was exposed—not necessarily for what he can’t do individually—but he was stripped of what he can’t do for his franchise anymore.
This is not No. 8 Black Mamba, and fans are coming to grips with the reality that the Lakers’ throne is soon going to be relinquished. It’s time for another man to step up and caress the crown.
If Dwight Howard is traded to Los Angeles, it will be his to lose.
Think about Kobe’s days next to Shaquille O’Neal and fast forward to the future, which would be considered the present. Shaq’s dominance forced fans to give Kobe his credit with an asterisk beside it.
Bryant was prominently an integral offensive fraction of the Lakers’ game plan, but next to Shaq’s superiority, Kobe did something that he has not been coerced into doing since. Kobe took second chair to a teammate.
It was not something that he did willingly as the bitter feud between he and Shaq was prevalent among many circles around the league and deeply fueled by the media. However, it was something that was made obvious to the public.
Bryant was great, but Shaq was the game changer. It’s a position Dwight Howard will likely be offered by Lakers’ management to woo him into a possible extension if traded to Los Angeles. Howard has some molding to do before he can be elevated to the alluring nature of Shaq’s position as one of the greatest centers of all time.
Yet, he has the potential to do it in a system that just recruited Steve Nash. Nash and Howard are two significant strides in the Los Angeles Lakers’ offseason, and they offer two perspectives of the game the Lakers have been missing, especially in the postseason.
The playoffs have shown two incredibly unfathomable realities for Kobe:
- He could use another Shaq.
- He needs someone to pass the ball so he isn’t blamed for shooting too much.
These nonverbal proclamations, as made apparent by Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers’ failures in the past two postseasons, force him back to that position he so desperately wants to avoid.
Bryant will be playing second fiddle, and whether that's to Dwight Howard, possibly, or Steve Nash is still undetermined.
However, the absence of their greatest strengths compared to the addition of their strategies and skill sets are a brutal combination in killing Bryant’s infallible position as the Lakers’ No. 1.